Collins, Charles Allston

BORN 25 Jan 1828, London: Hampstead - DIED 9 Apr 1873
GRAVE LOCATION London: Brompton Cemetery, Old Brompton Road, West Brompton (E)

Son of landscape painter William Collins RA and younger brother of writer Wilkie Collins. His paintings were conventional until in 1850 he changed his style under influence of his friend Millais. Without being a formal member of the Preraphaelite Brotherhood he was close to several members.

His most important painting is "Convent Thoughts", which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1851 along with paintings by Millais and Hunt. They were attacked savagely by the critics. John Ruskin wrote a letter to The Times (May 13th, 1851) in which he defended Collins. "Convent Thoughts" is now at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Charles had so many trouble finishing his paintings (caused by both mental and physical reasons) that in 1857 he decided to try his hand on writing instead. He published a novel, "The Bar Sinister", but he hardly managed to earn a living and the couple had to be supported financially by Dickens and his brother Wilkie.

The religious Collins married Kate, the daughter of Charles Dickens, who was a close friend of his worldly brother Wilkie. Clouds came over the marriage when Charles' health detoriated further and Dickens began to dislike him, probably because he was rumoured to have known to be impotent before he married. Kate confirmed towards the end of her life that 'he ought never to have married'. After a long struggle against cancer Charles died in 1873, surrounded by his half-finished paintings.

• Wife: Dickens, Kate Macready

Related persons
• was a friend of Hunt, William Holman
• was a friend of Millais, John Everett

The Pre-Raphaelite Collection, 2000
• Clarke, William M., The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins, Allison & Busby/W.H. Allen, London, 1988
• Peters, Catherine, The King of Inventors, A Life of Wilkie Collins, Seeker & Warburg, London, 1991


The grave of Charles Collins at Brompton Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (13 May 2011)


Collins, Wilkie

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 24 May 2011